NATIONAL HUNT CHASE

The National Hunt Chase (Challenge Cup) is a novices' chase for amateur riders only.

Dating back to 1860, it was originally run at different venues across the UK each year.

Cheltenham has been its permanent home since 1911 and until 1965 the course still took runners behind the grandstand after a mile.

Grade 2 | 5yo+ novices | Tuesday 17.30
3 miles 6 furlongs | 23 fences | Old Course
Weight: 11st 2lb (5yo) / 11st 6lb (6yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for mares
Prize money (2022): £125,000 | 1st: £60,388

Known as the 'Amateur Riders Grand National', for many years it was second only in prestige to the National in the jumps racing calendar.

In fact, it wasn't until 1946 that prize money for the Cheltenham Gold Cup exceeded that of this historic race.

And it has produced future Grand National winners including Tiger Roll, plus Gold Cup winners like Native River (2nd in 2016). 

Often referred to colloquially as the 'four miler', for safety reasons the original 4-mile trip was reduced by 2 furlongs in 2020, after only 4 of the 18 starters finished in 2019.

Thus, the number of fences in the National Hunt Chase also decreased, from 25 to 23.

In 2022 the race was renamed the Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Chase in support of the Red Cross campaign.

Gordon Elliott has trained 4 winners from 10 runners
 10 of the last 18 winners were aged 7
6 of the last 12 winners were rated 150+
0 of the last 9 favourites won
Updated to include 2022 renewal

Stamina is obviously still a key prerequisite, but experience counts too, with a large field almost guaranteed to face the starter.

The standard has undoubtedly increased in recent years, with the first and second placed horses in both 2021 and 2022 rated 150+.

You have to go back to the 2011, 2012 and 2013 renewals to find the last favourites to win, while the last outright favourite to oblige before them was Keep Talking in 1992.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
7
153
11-6
2021
7
152
11-6
2020
10
142
11-6
2019
7
145
11-6
2018
10
150
11-6

RECENT WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Stattler
Patrick Mullins / Willie Mullins
2/1
2021
Galvin
Jack Kennedy / Ian Ferguson
7/2
2020
Ravenhill
Jamie Codd / Gordon Elliott
12/1
2019
Le Breuil
Jamie Codd / Ben Pauling
14/1
2018
Rathvinden
Patrick Mullins / Willie Mullins
9/2
2017
Tiger Roll
Lisa O'Neill / Gordon Elliott
16/1
2016
Minella Rocco
Derek O'Connor / Jonjo O'Neill
8/1
2015
Cause Of Causes
Jamie Codd / Gordon Elliott
8/1
2014
Midnight Prayer
Joshua Newman / Alan King
8/1
2013
Back In Focus
Patrick Mullins / Willie Mullins
9/4f
2012
Teaforthree
JT McNamara / Rebecca Curtis
5/1f
2011
Chicago Grey
Derek O'Connor / Gordon Elliott
5/1f
2010
Poker De Sivola
Katie Walsh / Ferdy Murphy
14/1
2009
Tricky Trickster
Sam Waley-Cohen / Nigel Twiston-Davies
11/1
2008
Old Benny
Charlie Huxley / Alan King
9/1
2007
Butler's Cabin
Alan Berry / Jonjo O'Neill
33/1
2006
Hot Weld
Richard Harding / Ferdy Murphy
33/1
2005
Another Rum
Mark O'Hare / Ian Duncan
40/1
2004
Native Emperor
Robert Widger / Jonjo O'Neill
5/1jf
2003
Sudden Shock
Denis Cullen / Jonjo O'Neill
25/1
2002
Rith Dubh
JT McNamara / Jonjo O'Neill
10/1
2001

Festival Cancelled

2000
Relaxation
Mark Bradburne / Henry Daly
8/1

Patrick Mullins secured his third win in this amateur riders' contest in 2022, with Stattler producing a flying leap at the last and sauntering clear of an unusually small field.

It was also a third winner of the National Hunt Chase for owner Ronnie Bartlett - following Rathvinden (2018) and Galvin (2021).

Bartlett is chairman of the sponsor of Friday’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

‘WILLIE TOLD ME WE WERE GOING TO THIS RACE, SEND THE HORSE TO THE TRAINER AND THEY TELL YOU WHERE IT’S GOING. KEEP IT SIMPLE’

Professional jockeys competed in 2021 due to Covid restrictions and Galvin was ridden by Jack Kennedy, who joked:

‘IT’S A SHAME AMATEURS WERE UNABLE TO RIDE - BUT I’D HAVE ONE LESS FESTIVAL WINNER IF THEY COULD, SO I’LL TAKE IT’

Jamie Codd won the National Hunt Chase for a third time in 2020, aboard Ravenhill:

‘IT’S THE OLYMPICS OF OUR SPORT - IF YOU DON’T ENJOY RIDING WINNERS AROUND HERE THEN THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU’

Jamie Codd also won an attritional renewal aboard Le Breuil in 2019, a second Festival winner for trainer Ben Pauling:

Rathvinden won an engrossing duel with the mare Ms Parfois in 2018:

Meanwhile, in 2017 Tiger Roll collected the second of his five Cheltenham Festival wins:

Minella Rocco 2016

Cause Of Causes 2015

Midnight Prayer 2014

Back In Focus 2013

Jonjo O’Neill has trained a record six National Hunt Chase winners: Front Line (1995), Rith Dubh (2002), Sudden Shock (2003), Native Emperor (2004), Butler's Cabin (2007) & Minella Rocco (2016).

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
1999
Deejaydee
Tony Martin / Michael Hourigan
13/2
1998
Wandering Light
Rupert Wakley / Tim Forster
10/1
1997
Flimsy Truth
Micky Harris / Martin Weston
33/1
1996
Loving Around
Philip Fenton / Edward O'Grady
10/1
1995
Front Line
John Berry / Jonjo O'Neill
7/1
1994
Christmas Gorse
Marcus Armytage / Nick Gaselee
14/1
1993
Ushers Island
Noel Wilson / Howard Johnson
15/2
1992
Keep Talking
Marcus Armytage / Tim Thomson Jones
5/2f
1991
Smooth Escort
Tony Martin / Di Haine
7/1
1990
Topsham Bay
Paul Hacking / David Barons
40/1
1989
Boraceva
Seamus Mullins / Toby Balding
4/1f
1988
Over the Road
Tom Costello / Terry Casey
10/1
1987
Mighty Mark
Jimmy Walton / Frank Walton
8/1
1986
Omerta
Lorcan Wyer / Homer Scott
9/4f
1985
Northern Bay
Tony Fowler / Tom Bill
12/1
1984
Macks Friendly
Willie Mullins / Paddy Mullins
11/4
1983
Bit of a Skite
Frank Codd / Edward O'Grady
5/1f
1982
Hazy Dawn
Willie Mullins / Paddy Mullins
8/1
1981
Lucky Vane
Stephen Bush / Toby Balding
13/1
1980
Waggoners Walk
Tony Fowler / Caroline Mason
10/1
1979
Arctic Ale
John Fowler / Dan Moore
20/1
1978
Gay Tie
John Fowler / Mick O'Toole
10/1
1977
Alpenstock
Dick Saunders / Stan Mellor
14/1
1976
Sage Merlin
Peter Greenall / Jack Hardy
5/2f
1975

No Race

1974
Mr Midland
Mouse Morris / Edward O'Grady
7/2
1973
Foreman
Bill Shand Kydd / Harry Thomson Jones
11/2f
1972
Charley Winking
Derrick Scott / Leslie Scott
20/1
1971
Deblin's Green
Derek Edmunds / George Yardley
9/2f
1970
Domason
Robert Alner / Harry Dufosee
10/1
1969
Lizzy the Lizard
Grant Cann / Tony Hartnoll
10/1
1968
Fascinating Forties
Michael Dickinson / George Owen
9/1
1967
Master Tammy
Brian Fanshawe / George Guilding
100/7
1966
Polaris Missile
John Thorne / John Thorne
100/6
1965
Red Vale
George Small / Albert Piper
100/8
1964
Dorimont
Charles Vaughan / Tom Taaffe
4/1
1963
Time
Ian Balding / Willie Stephenson
8/1
1962
Go Slow
George Small / Albert Piper
10/1
1961
Superfine
Sir William Pigott-Brown / Frank Cundell
10/1
1960
Proud Socks
H. Thompson / Vivian Bishop
100/6
1959
Sabaria
John Lawrence / Bob Turnell
5/2f
1958
Spud Tamson
Geordie Dun / Tommy Dun
13/2
1957
Kari Sou
Alan Lillingston / Archie Thomlinson
100/6
1956
Rosana III
Jeremy Everitt / Jeremy Everitt
9/1
1955
Reverend Prince
C. Pocock / Peter Dufosee
33/1
1954
Quare Times
Bunny Cox / Vincent O'Brien
5/2f
1953
Pontage
Bunny Cox / Dan Moore
9/4f
1952
Frosty Knight
Charles Straker / Ian Straker
15/2
1951*
Cushendun
Peter Chisman / Bobby Renton
10/1
1950
Ellesmere
Atty Corbett / Ken Cundell
100/30f
1949
Castledermot
Lord Mildmay / Vincent O'Brien
6/4f
1948
Bruno II
Guy Cunard / William Anstruther-Gray
20/1
1947*
Maltese Wanderer
Dermot Daly / Tom Yates
6/1
1946
Prattler
Dermot Daly / Sonny Hall
33/1


No Race (1940-1945)

1939
Litigant
Richard Black / Frank Furlong
7/1
1938
St George II
Bobby Petre / A.J.G Leveson-Gower
10/1
1937*
Hopeful Hero
W.L. Dawes / H.A.J Silley
100/8
1936
Pucka Belle
E.W.W Bailey / E.W.W Bailey
6/1
1935
Rod And Gun
Hywell Jones† / Jack Anthony
100/8
1934
Crown Prince
Lord Belper / Cliff Beechener
10/1
1933
Ego
Perry Harding / M. Lindsay
100/8
1932
Robin-a-Tiptoe
Frank Furlong / W. Gale
100/6
1931*
Merriment IV
George Baillie-Hamilton / Stewart Wight
20/1
1930
Sir Lindsay
Oliver Plunkett / Jack Anthony
5/4f
1929
Big Wonder
Henry Weber / G.S.L Whitelaw
7/2
1928
Cryptical
T.F Cavenagh / F.H Bowcher
20/1
1927
Fine Yarn
J. Stevens / C. Stevens
33/1
1926
Cloringo
Bill Dutton / Max Barthropp
25/1
1925
Ardvasar
Pat Dennis / Aubrey Hastings
4/1
1924
Patsey V
Brian Lemon / Bob Gore
9/1
1923
Templescoby
Harry Brown / Tom Coulthwaite
7/4f
1922
Conjuror II
Cyril Dewhurst / Tom Coulthwaite
8/1
1921
Bugler
Geoffrey Bennet / Harry Brown
4/1
1920
Prudhomme
Cecil Brabazon / James Daly
9/2


No Race (1916-1919)

1915
Martial IV
J.H Purvis / J.H Purvis
20/1
1914
War Duke
Harry Ussher / Harry Ussher
9/1
1913
Kransfugl
Robert Hall / G. Pirie
33/1
1912
The Rejected IV
Gilbert Cotton / J.J Cowap
100/8
1911
Sir Halbert
Arthur Smith / Tom Coulthwaite
33/1
All National Hunt Chase winners at Cheltenham prior to 2000

* Run at April meeting
† William Hywell Anthony Jones (H.A Jones) was older brother of Mervyn Jones (M.A Jones). In 'History of the National Hunt Chase' the winning jockey is mistakenly identified as Mervyn.

The race was originally run in 1860 at Market Harborough and then at different venues until 1911.

NATIONAL HUNT CHASE FAQ’s

REFERENCES

  1. Stevens, Peter (2010). History of the National Hunt Chase, 1860-2010